|Fuckin' Lovecraft, Man
||[Apr. 3rd, 2016|12:51 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
I originally wrote this for a Lovecraftian FB group, but ya'll might enjoy it as well...
Has anyone else read THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM by Victor Lavalle? It came out mid-February. I picked my copy up from my local bookshop after reading a review they posted of it. I just spent 15 minutes looking for the damn review, because I felt it did a better job of capturing the book's concept than I can, but now I can't find the post.
At 149 pages, it leans more toward a novella than a novel, but it's a fully realized story. It's based on Lovecraft's "The Horror at Red Hook" (and set in 1924) but where that story takes a hard right turn into crappy town about halfway through, Lavalle pulls out a coherent narrative to help the reader imagine a world where you'd want to wake up Cthulhu.
The book is mostly told from the point of view of a Harlem native, an intelligent Black man and the eponymous Tom, but it also provides a more in-depth version of Malone's side of the story as a "sensitive Celt" and, in an interesting twist, the outsider.
So if you can't handle a scary-ass horror story that's also a critique of Lovecraft's racism & xenophobia, don't read it. But if you want a solid Lovecraftian story, I recommend it.